MITTELEUROPA

Coordination: Fernanda Gil Costa

Synopsis:

After Renaissance the European thought and worldview has systematically been influenced by the ‘Mitteleuropa’ – a name usually given to the central countries of the continent, which underwent big changes after the Reformation movement of Christianity. Indeed, the reformed countries were the first to consistently develop the emergent scientific paradigm based on rationalism and experimentation, which would give shape to new forms of understanding reality and the relationship between mankind and nature. The new paradigm opened a space for emergent scientific fields and a new relationship between science and technology, which had a huge and permanent impact in cultural life and society. The changes and expansion of the media and the means of communication would also bring about an open social life where new institutions were created to shelter literature and the arts. This new sphere of public life offered to artists and intellectuals, readers and spectators the opportunity of finding a permanent meeting point where the function of culture and art in human life could be prepared and anticipated.
This project is focused on researching the fundamental concepts and questions of the modern scientific revolution, such as truth, evidence, demonstration and progress; it will at the same time explore the consequences of the fact that this revolution is accompanied by an alternative tradition, that questions the fundaments of pure rationalist thought and stresses the inexistence of boundaries between subject and object, explanation and construction. It will also pinpoint how literature and the arts coped with this evolution, either imagining alternatives to attain knowledge and social significance or trying to give expression to an increasing sense of loss and skepticism on mere scientific truth claims.

Activities:

  • International Symposium “Aporias of Truth: Discourses of Legimation in Science and the Arts” (Spring 2009).

Research team:

  • Fernanda Gil Costa
  • Fernanda Mota Alves
  • Luísa Afonso Soares